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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Russia Accuses Ukraine Of Killing Daughter Of Major Putin Ally; U.S.-South Korea Joint Drills; Tensions Over Taiwan. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 22, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. A warm welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Russia blames Ukraine for a car bombing that killed the daughter of a prominent Putin supporter. But Ukraine denies any involvement in the


Then, the U.S. and South Korea begin conducting their largest joint military exercises. The two countries seek to deter North Korea's threats.

And another U.S. politician's delegation has visited Taiwan, the third in a month. These visits have prompted Chinese authorities to suspend the import

of some Taiwanese products. And we'll show you the direct impact on Taipei's businesses.

Russia is blaming Ukraine for a car bombing that killed the daughter of an influential Russian ideologue. According to state media, Russia's federal

security service says the attack on Darya Dugina was prepared by Ukraine's special services and carried out by a Ukrainian woman on Saturday.

But a senior Ukrainian official with oversight of the special services has dismissed the allegation, saying that Russian propaganda lives in a

fictional world.

Meantime, Dugina's father, Alexander Dugin, is calling victory kneeing against Ukraine in response to his daughter's death. Russia's president has

also spoken about the killing, calling Dugina bright and talented, and saying that her murder was a vile, cruel crime.

For the latest from Moscow, here's Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly after the explosion that caused Darya Dugina to crash on a Moscow

highway, her car engulfed in flames. Darya Dugina was dead at the scene, police say. Her father, pro-Kremlin ideologue Alexander Dugin looking on in


Tonight, Vladimir Putin with an angry response. Quote: A vile, cruel crime cut short the life of Darya Dugina. She proved by deed what it means to be

a patriot of Russia, the Russian leader said in a condolence letter.

After only a short investigation, the Russians now blaming Ukraine for the murder. The intelligence service releasing this video which CNN cannot

independently verify claiming to show a Ukrainian special services operative who allegedly entered Russia together with her young daughter,

shadowed Dugina, carried out the car-bombing and then fled to neighboring Estonia.

Alexander Dugin, who some believe may have been the actual target of the plot, lashing out against Ukraine.

Our hearts yearn for more than just revenge or retribution. It's too small, not the Russian way. We only need our victory. My daughter laid her maiden

life on her altar, so win, please -- Dugin wrote in a statement.

Dugin has long advocated Russian expansionism and some believe laid the ideological groundwork for Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainians deny they had anything to do with his daughter's killing. Russian propaganda lives in a fictional world, an adviser to Ukraine's

presidential administration said, and hinted the Ukrainians believe it may have been an inside job, adding, quote, vipers in Russian special services

started an intraspecies fight.

The incident comes as Russia's invasion of Ukraine nears the half-year mark, and Moscow is keen to keep public opinion in favor of the operation,

with a massive show of patriotism on Russia's national flag day in a series of events around the country.

In these trying times as Russia's military is fighting in Ukraine and the country is under heavy sanctions it's become increasingly important to

display patriotism. At this event, the organizers have brought together hundreds of people to create a giant Russian flag.

Flags in public spaces and on Moscow's streets. At this massive nighttime convoy, many of the drivers flashed the Z symbol of Russia's invasion

forces fighting in Ukraine.

Our commander in chief and the army are doing everything right, this man says, as the pro-Putin convoy circled Moscow in a display of power, trying

to show that Russia won't be deterred from its current course.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


NOBILO: An added note, CNN cannot independently verify the FSB claims about the suspect. And the videos that the agency released does not itself

connect the woman to the bombing.


I want to bring in Melinda Haring, the deputy director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council.

Melinda, always good to hear from you on the program.

I'd like to get your thoughts on who you think would stand to gain from this assassination?


That's the question we are all asking. So, no one knows who was behind it and we are not likely to find out. That being the case, you brought me to

speculate. So, there's five different hypotheses.

So, the first is the Russian hypothesis. The Ukrainian Secret Services did it, Ukraine denies, but it's really hard to see how Ukraine would benefit

from it. And I'm not an investigator but it's really hard to see how they would have pulled this off in one of the most secure neighborhoods in

Moscow. It's probably the most secure neighborhood in Moscow outside of the Kremlin.

Number two, in Russia, these kinds of hits are often associated with financial beefs. So, there could have been a financial beef with her


Number three, a lot of analysts are talking about a potential false flag operation. So the Russians services did it to distract from something they

plan to do. We'll see.

The fourth option is a growing armed rebellion within Russia, and there have been strikes against military recruitment officers and other acts of


The fifth different hypothesis is that it is an attack by those people within the Russian government who are unhappy with the war and don't think

that Putin has been strong enough and that the hit was meant for Dugin to set of protests and urged Putin to act even harder and be even more

aggressive with the war.

Those are the five options that I see.

NOBILO: That's a very helpful delineation there. And picking up on the last point, obviously, it's difficult to get a really accurate pitch, but

how are Russians responding en masse to the death of Darya Dugina?

HARING: So, you've already highlighted her father's response. But the people are also calling for Putin to stand up. I think we will see what

happens in the next two days in Ukraine are going to be a big deal.

So, it's Ukraine's 31st independence day on Wednesday the 24th. It's also the sixth anniversary. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine has

already warned that he expects Putin to do something very nasty on Independence Day. And people are leaving the city and fearful that there

may be missile strikes on Kyiv.

So, this could -- this hit could have been laying the groundwork to prepare for some kind of big strike later this week.

NOBILO: And, back in February, you were one of a handful of analysts that was fairly certain that Putin was actually going to invade. Now six months

on, what's surprised you, and do you think Russia's objectives have changed at all?

HARING: I don't think Russians objectives have changed. I think they still want to take Ukraine. And they still want to be in charge of the security

architecture in Europe, and they still want to destroy NATO and they would love to humiliate the West.

The problem is they have not accomplished any of those goals six months in.

NOBILO: Melinda Haring, thank you so much for joining us.

HARING: Thank you.

NOBILO: Now, Ukraine was already on heightened alert as it gets ready to mark its independence day this week, fearing that Russia could use the

occasion as well and it was just saying, to escalate attacks.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government has canceled independence day rallies in Kyiv as a precaution. The president is urging Ukrainians to resist what he

calls an enemy provocations, warning that Russia may be planning a major attack.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We should be aware that this, week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty,

something particularly cruel, such as our enemy. But in any other week during these six months, Russia did the same thing all the time,

disgusting, and cruel.


NOBILO: Let's talk about this morning and other developments with Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine's defense minister.

Thank you so much for joining the program tonight, Yuriy.

YURIY SAK, ADVISER TO UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: Thank you very much for inviting me.

NOBILO: To begin, with just picking up on our last segment, so Russia's state news agency has shed information about -- the alleged killer of Darya

Dugina had previously searched in the Ukrainian member of the military regiment. What is your response to that?

SAK: Our officials responded that, of course, Ukraine have not anything to do with what happened in Moscow.

Look, we all understand that Mr. Dugin, as you have said in your report earlier, is one of the ideologues of Kremlin. He is the person who is known

for saying that Ukrainians must be killed, killed and killed. Now, these are his words.

But nevertheless, we, Ukrainians, we are not rookies. We understand that the only chance that we have to win this war depends on the support of

international communities. We understand that we cannot act as terrorists.

So, that's why, you know, the only objectives that we are firing at are military objectives. So, of course, this looks more like a false flag

terrorist act. False flag terrorist oppression, rather than anything to do with Ukrainian armed forces.

NOBILO: And if indeed it was a false flag operation, are you concerned that Russia will use this assassination as a pretext for yet more violence,

and uglier attacks on Ukrainians?

SAK: What we have seen in the last six months is that Russia is a terrorist state, which does not need any justifications or any specific,

you know, occasions for the war crimes for the missile strikes. They take place on a daily basis. Ukrainian civilian people are dying on a daily


So, of course, we take precaution, because we also understand that Russia has a very weird way of believing in the magic of numbers. Of course,

Ukrainians independence day is something that probably the Russian leadership hate very much. And we will not be surprised if they are

planning to carry out some provocations.

But at the same time, I would like to repeat that for the last six months, Russia has proven itself as a war criminal, as a genocidal army, which does

not need any pretext to kill Ukrainian people every day. And we need to stop this as soon as possible.

NOBILO: We have all been witnessing that every day of this invasion. You are absolutely right. Now, as you mentioned, events to mark Ukraine's

Independence Day on Wednesday have been banned in the country's capital and the second largest city, Kharkiv, because of concerns about Russians might

do big on that particular date.

What does the intelligence suggest, or what are you preparing for potentially?

SAK: We are living in an atmosphere where we have to be prepared as a nation (INAUDIBLE) major cities. We have to be prepared for the worst on a

daily basis. We have air raid sirens in major cities ringing out every day.

So, we are, by now, we are used to them and we are prepared. Of course, our authorities, they have warned everyone to be extra careful and pay extra

caution to the air raid sirens, because strong provocations are possible.

But at the same time, it is very unlikely that something extraordinary will happen. We live in this atmosphere of terror for the last six months.

NOBILO: We have seen a recent series of attacks on Russian forces in southern Ukraine, and in the annexed Crimean peninsula. Are you changing

your tactics at this point in the war six months on?

SAK: Our tactics in this war has been improved considerably, of course, by the support that we received from our international allies, led by the U.S.

You know, let me tell you, every time -- almost every night when I come back home, my 11-year-old son, he's asking me the same question. He's

asking me, dad, have the Americans gave us more rockets? Have the Americans gave us more ATACMS missiles?

So, my 11-year-old son right now, instead of studying who is Newton or who is Shakespeare, my 11-year-old son knows what is the firing range of HIMARS

systems. What is the caliber of M777 cannons, and this is not normal. This needs to change.

So, our tactics, I would like to go back to where I started. Our tactics are changing, because we are receiving the vital support from our partners

and in particular from the U.S. on the battlefield, but we need more of that support.

We need tanks. We need F-16s. We need ATACMS missiles which have 300 kilometer firing range. Because the sooner we receive this, the sooner we

will be able to end this war and the sooner we will be able to restore peace and stability in Europe, because this is a war which Ukraine is

fighting, but we are not just fighting for our own lives or are on future.

We are fighting for the values of the whole of the civilized world, and I'm sure that all international partners will stand by.

NOBILO: Yuriy Sak, thank you so much for joining us and sharing that. This harrowing anecdote of your 11-year-old. He should be concerning himself --

that's the reality for all of you.


Thank you so much for joining the program.

SAK: Thank you.

NOBILO: And coming up on THE GLOBAL BRIEF, the first time in years, the U.S. and South Korea are conducting joint field military drills. We will

have more on that intent next.

Plus, another U.S. delegation is in Taiwan to strengthen ties. But the impact of these visits have gone far beyond politics.


NOBILO: South Korea and the U.S. began their largest joint military drills in years on Monday. It's the first time the two forces have had a field

training exercises on this scale since 2017. The South Korean president says that these annual summer exercises are meant to boost deterrence from

the north, as in North Korea. Officials in Seoul say that North Korea's conducted missile tests in an unprecedented pace this year and just ready

to conduct its seventh nuclear tests at anytime.

I'm joined now by CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann.

Oren, it's always great to have you on the show. Tell us more about these drills and whether not the scale of them reflects an increased anxiety

about tensions in the Korean peninsula, or perhaps the South China Sea?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. and South Korea have made very clear that they've launched this increased pace of testing from

North Korea, pretty much since the beginning of the year. Some nearly 20 test carried out by North Korea, not only ballistic missile tests which are

a violation of U.N. Security Council resolution, but also cruise missile tests, some of those, and also claimed hypersonic tests, which the U.S. is

viewed quite skeptically.

Even if the cruise missile tests are not a violation of U.N. Security Council resolution, the U.S. and South Korea have watched this with a sense

of alarm, realizing that North Korea doesn't appear to have any interest in finding some negotiation solution, or reducing the level of tensions on the

Korean peninsula. It's because of that, that the Biden administration has stepped away or rule river watch was a Trump administration error decision.

Not to conduct large-scale exercises with South Korea.


That was an attempt to reach some sort of or at least an opening for some sort of negotiated progress with both Korea. That -- it has become clear to

the Biden administration is not happening.

And in light of not only the lack of diplomatic progress, but also the wider scale and greater testing we've seen from North Korea, the Biden

administration made the decision to get back to the large-scale exercises. And following what's known as the KIDD, Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense

Dialogue, the U.S. and South Korea committed to a larger scale and scope of exercises. We're seeing now, with exercise is called Ulchi Freedom Shield

which began today continue over the course of the next few days.

So, it is, to some extent not only a response to the reality of how the U.S. sees the situation, which is a more aggressive, assertive North Korea

that's continuing in this aggressive exercising with the U.S. sees as aggressive testing of its missiles. But it's also a response to sort of the

lack of diplomatic process and the apparent disinterest of North Korea to try and make any sort of progress.

And, Bianca, just in the last few days, we've seen that continue. The South Korean president said he had when he called a no dishes offered to North

Korea to make progress on what they're trying to move forward with in relation to try to get some sort of negotiated progress. North Korea

rejected that saying, that it doesn't view this as a serious offer. It's because of that, the U.S. and South Korea view these exercises that

important part of the relationship. Both of them also watching the possibility of a seven nuclear tests from North Korea, a nuclear test the

U.S. has said, the North Koreans could at this point carry out at anytime.

The U.S. and South Korea saying that if U.S., or rather, if Pyongyang does carry out such nuclear tests, the U.S. will be more strategic to the


NOBILO: We'll all be looking out for that and watching closely. I know that you will be, too.

Oren Liebermann, thanks so much for joining us.

LIEBREMANN: Of course.

NOBILO: Now, Taiwan is hosting its third U.S. delegation this month reaffirming the U.S. support for the island despite opposition that we've

seen from Beijing.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is the leading this trip. He and Taiwan's president discussed business opportunities on Monday. It comes after U.S.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited a few weeks ago, increasing tensions with China.

Many in Taiwan feel caught in the middle between two superpowers. After Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Beijing suspended some trade with the island

including imports of certain fruit and fish.

CNN's Blake Essig is in Taiwan, speaking with those who feel the impact of these moves the most.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a small township in the south of Taiwan, farmers like Li Meng-han are battling more than mother nature to

make a living.

But geopolitics? That's something his hard work can change.

LI MENG-HAN, OWNER, CHINGCHUAN ORCHARD (through translator): It's some kind of political issue between Taiwan and China. We simply want to grow

fruits and sell them at a good price.

ESSIG: A reasonable request, but one that got so much more difficult following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent stop in Taiwan.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan.

ESSIG: China reacted by flexing its military missile, executing at least six days of live fire drills, while at the same time, exerting its economic

power over this democratic island, going after what some consider low hanging fruit.

Citrus fruit like this pomelo was included on the most recent list of Taiwanese items banned from entering China. Beijing says the reason is

because of excess pesticides, accusations that farmers here deny. It's a move that experts say is less about health care or the economy and all

about politics.

LI: I didn't see the band coming so fast. We were caught off guard.

CHIAO CHUN, AUTHOR, FRUITS AND POLITICS: We all know that politics is behind the bands. This is a politically motivated economic sanctions on

Taiwan to exert economic pressure on Taiwan.

ESSIG: The latest sanctions on fruit and fish one into effect the same day that Nancy Pelosi met with the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Sanctions

that will cost farmers like Li a lot of money. If things don't change, it could force him and other farmers to let people go.

SUN TZU-MIN, GENERAL MANAGER, MADOU FARMERS ASSOCIATION: It's been hard for farmers. A sudden ban can put everything on hold. The pomelo trees can

live for decades, and the fruits get sweeter as the trees get older, so it's impossible for farmers to abandon them.

ESSIG: Each year, roughly, 72,000 tons of pomelo are produced here in Taiwan. Only about 7 percent are exported to China. The vast majority are

being sold and processed here locally, in places like this.

A small number on paper, but one that will have a big impact on farmers financially and mentally.

CHIAO: I think psychology is a bigger factor here. They can say that they have banned a large number of fruit items from Taiwan in one go.

ESSIG: While Pelosi is now gone, impacts of her visit can still be felt, with farmers forced to get creative by transforming the pomelo into

something different, to make up for that lost revenue.


LI: Taiwanese people shouldn't suffer from the tension between the U.S. and China. They always come, and then they leave the next day. But the

impact is felt here by Taiwanese farmers.

ESSIG: It's the collateral damage of world powers going toe-to-toe. Whereas it's usually the case, it's not politicians who suffer, but every

day people just looking to pick some fruit and feed their family.

Blake Essig, CNN, Madou, Taiwan.


NOBILO: A disturbing homicide investigation is now underway in New Zealand. Authorities are investigating the case of two children whose

remains were found in an auction suitcase there last week. A police source tells CNN that the women believed to be their mother is now in South Korea.

The New Zealand police say the children likely to have been between the ages of five and ten may have been dead for a number of years.

Let's take a look at other stories making headlines at this hour.

More than 60 people have died and floods across Afghanistan in recent weeks. Monsoon rains have already taken away life stock and damage

farmlands. Most of the damage has come in the east, where close to 4,000 homes have been damaged.

Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga presented mountains of papers to the Kenyan Supreme Court on Monday, formally challenging the results of

this month's election. Odinga claims misconduct by the electoral commission during the vote counts. Odinga had also challenged presidential elections

in 2013 and 2017.

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gathered outside his home on Monday, vowing not to allow him to be arrested. Police filed

terrorism charges against Khan to express anger at the courts and police during the speech and Pakistani authorities have also banned him from

speaking live on television.

In Singapore is taking a small but significant step towards equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Gay rights advocates celebrated Sunday when

Singapore's prime minister announced to the government will repeal a law that made sex between two men illegal. The law has not been enforced in

decades, but it was still on the books. However, the prime minister stopped short of pledging to allow same-sex marriage in Singapore.

Well, thank you for watching the show tonight. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

And "WORLD SPORT" is coming up here.